As we commemorate International Human Rights Day today, December 10, I can’t help but recall the moment 17 years ago in Beijing when then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton proclaimed, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”
Today, for many of us, these 11 words may seem obvious, even instinctive. But in 1995, they were a revelation. I remember being among the delegates at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and feeling a current of excitement wash across the room. It was perhaps one of the first times the world had heard a person of global stature assert at a global forum in such unequivocal terms that women’s rights and human rights were one and the same.
Today, in my official travels, I still meet women all over the world who tell me how those eleven words nearly two decades ago changed their lives. They helped raise the… more »
On November 25, the world observed the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We are now in the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” which links November 25 to International Human Rights Day on December 10, recognizing the connection between women’s rights and human rights. These 16 Days offer all of us an opportunity to renew the commitment to ending violence against women and girls in all its forms.
Promoting the status of women and girls is not just a moral imperative but a strategic one; it is, in essence, a strategy for a smarter foreign policy. Strengthening the prevention of and response to gender-based violence is of vital importance, because no country can achieve peace and prosperity if half of its population is deprived of reaching its full potential. As Secretary Clinton has so often said, women are drivers of economic… more »
Since 2006, the State Department and FORTUNE have teamed up with Vital Voices to build on our annual Global Mentorship Partnership to expand the network of women — and men — who use mentorship to empower others.
This week, in more than 18 countries around the world, women will come together with a broad coalition of supporters in their communities to participate in the Vital Voices Mentoring Walks, a global effort to raise awareness on the positive power of mentorship.
Since 2006, the State Department and FORTUNE have teamed up with Vital Voices to build on our annual Global Mentorship Partnership to expand the network of women — and men — who use mentorship to empower others. In fact, the mentoring walks started when founder and former CEO of Oxygen Media Geraldine Layborne’s schedule didn’t allow her to meet with the scores of young women who sought her advice. Instead of rejecting meeting requests, she opened her morning walks each day in New York City as a gateway for her to connect with these young women. Today, these walks have spread across the United States and throughout… more »
About the Author: Kathleen Guerra serves as Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.
As diplomats, one of our most important functions is to get to know the people of our host country. What do they think about what’s happening in the world? How do they view the critical issues of the day in their country? And what is their opinion on the United States?
Here in Guatemala, as Cultural Affairs Officer, I am lucky to have a job that allows me to do just that. I travel to many remote sites around the country, to check up on our English teaching programs or to visit an archaeological site we support with a grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. I meet a wide variety of people from all over Guatemala: young, old, rural, urban, rich, poor, male, female. I talk to them, and I learn a lot about their lives.
But some things, like gender-based violence, I will never understand. This issue was central in a visit last Friday by Ambassador-at-Large… more »
Since 2008, the drought-induced food crisis that affected many countries in the Horn of Africa not only cost the regional economy billions of dollars, but also exacerbated regional instability, insecurity in distressed communities, and tribal competition for scarce resources.
Josephine Ekiru, a 26-year-old conservationist from the Turkana tribe near Shaba in Kenya, was determined to do something for her community after witnessing the devastating impact of frequent conflict on both the region’s people and wildlife. She started by talking to the women in her community, hearing about their common concern of losing husbands and sons in the conflicts. She also reached out to women of the other major tribe, the Borana, with which the Turkanas were in conflict. After years of work, she gained trust from both groups. In May 2010, Josephine’s work helped unite the two tribes… more »
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Lima, Peru, on October 15 and 16. In Peru, she met with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to discuss bilateral and regional cooperation. After her meeting with the President, Secretary Clinton said:
“…The United States and Peru work together on many shared challenges and priorities. We are working together to promote citizen security and to work against the drug traffickers. We are working to support you in your ongoing efforts against the terrorists who have for too long brought violence to too many people throughout… more »
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton highlights women’s financial inclusion during her remarks after meeting with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala at the Palacio de Gobierno in Lima, Peru, October 15, 2012. [Go to http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/10/199177.htm for a text transcript.]
Photo of the Week: Raising the Status of Girls Worldwide
About the Author: Alison Bauerlein serves as an editor for DipNote and a Foreign Service Officer in the Office of Digital Engagement.
This week’s “Photo of the Week” comes to us from USAID/Vietnam’s Richard Nyberg, who took this photo in the central highlands of Vietnam on October 9, 2010. The young girl pictured is one of the many ethnic minority girls benefiting from the support of USAID, the East Meets West Foundation, and the people and authorities in Kon Tum, Vietnam.
On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the world marked the first-ever celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child. As USAID noted on its web page devoted to the day, the occasion provides an opportunity for “reaching out… more »
As the world comes together to mark the first-ever International Day of the Girl on October 11, we are filled with hope, but also a sense of urgency. Just this week, a masked Pakistani Taliban militant attempted to assassinate Malala Yousufzai — a 14 year-old Pakistani schoolgirl — on her school bus simply for going to school and speaking up for her right and the right of girls everywhere to get an education. This barbaric act reminds us all too painfully that in far too many places, some still don’t value girls and want to ignore their fundamental rights as human beings. What is so inspiring about Malala’s story is the outpouring of support she has received from every level of her government and ours, and from Pakistanis of all walks of life. So many people from around the world have stood up to say that she is like their own daughter.